TOMS’ Give-Away for Profit Business Model
Last Tuesday, April 4, TOMS Shoes promoted its 4th annual "One
Day Without Shoes" campaign designed to raise awareness of the impact
a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life.
In 2006, founder Blake Mycoskie
took a trip to Argentina where he met a group of locals
who collected shoes for children who didn’t have any. That inspired Mr. Mycoskie
to create a company under a simple "one
for one" pledge: for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair
to a child in need. As of 2010, TOMS has donated over one million pairs of
shoes in over 20 countries.
Over 250,000 people across the globe went barefoot
on April 8 of last year in support of the "One Day Without Shoes" campaign.
This year, the founder said he expected millions to participate. Numerous stories
were told of students going barefoot for the day on college campuses, where
the canvas shoes are particularly popular, as well as at high schools. Nordstrom
hosted barefoot walks. Celebrities including Charlize Theron, Lenny Kravitz
and Pink also joined the cause.
Mr. Mycoskie’s story has been retold
countless times in the media, but he’s also been particularly popular on the
lecture circuit because his charity-based company is a for-profit.
"When I first decided that I wanted to do something about this problem,
I had a few options," Mr. Mycoskie told USA Today. "I could
have written a check to a charity or foundation for a one-time donation. But
it didn’t feel right. By being a for-profit, we’re more sustainable."
focus on "giving" also spawned numerous benefits, including inspiring
Ralph Lauren to develop a TOMS collection for his Rugby chain and American
Express to feature Mr. Mycoskie in an ad campaign. More broadly, it turns consumers
into brand advocates and draws a motivated workforce.
"It attracts the most amazing people into your company," Mr. Mycoskie
said in an address at the South by Southwest festival recently held in Austin,
according to South Africa’s The Daily Maverick. "The greatest competitive
advantage is to allow your employees to do something that makes them feel they
are giving back."
But, Mr. Mycoskie credits his company’s overall success
to the one-for-one simplicity. "When
people buy something they know exactly what is going to happen," he told USA
On June 7, TOMS will announce its next one-to-one product that
will be its first outside the shoe category.
- One Day Without Shoes – TOMS
- For-profit TOMS Shoes inspires millions to go ‘one day without shoes’ – USA
- One Day Without Shoes for a Good Cause a Success – The Saint
- Students kick off their shoes for children in need – The Nicholls
- TOMS Gets Stars To Go One Day Without Shoes In Today’s Tweet Dreams – MTV
- South by SouthWest: Blake Mycoskie, a man comfortable in his own shoes – The
Discussion Questions: What do you think of TOMS’ business model? What can other brands learn from TOMS?